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Parade and ceremony to mark 60th anniversary of Royal Navy receiving Freedom of the City

12 September 2023
Freedom of the City parade

Hundreds of sailors and Royal Marines will march through Plymouth on Wednesday 20 September in an event to celebrate the close relationship between the city and the Royal Navy and mark the 60th anniversary of the Royal Navy receiving Freedom of the City.

The Plymouth Command of the Royal Navy was granted Freedom of the City in 1963, when sailors marched up to the Hoe for the civic event.

Freedom of the City is the greatest ceremonial honour a local authority can bestow and gives martial organisations the privilege of marching into the city.

The ceremony and parade, which will start at 10am, will be attended by the Lord Mayor, who will deliver a speech to acknowledge the honour and thank the Royal Navy for their work and dedication.

The Royal Marine band will also be present and will form outside the Theatre Royal and will proceed along the footpath to the main crossing on Royal Parade and cross on Armada Way ‘The Piazza’.

There will be a slight delay for traffic on Royal Parade between 9.55am and 10.05am as there will be a temporary road closure to allow the band to cross the road at the Armada Way pedestrian crossing.

Councillor Mark Shayer, Lord Mayor of Plymouth, said: “It is an absolute honour to be present at the Freedom of the City parade to celebrate the 60th anniversary. I am really passionate about acknowledging the excellent work and dedication that the Navy do for our country.

“This is a very special day for our city and for our strong Armed Forces family and community in Plymouth.”

HM Naval Base Devonport Commander, Brigadier Mike Tanner OBE ADC Royal Marines, said: “It is a great honour for any Military Unit to be granted the Freedom of a City, more so when it is a city with such a glorious and deeply personal history as that shared between Plymouth and the Royal Navy.

“I am delighted to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Royal Navy being granted the Freedom of the City this September. I am romanced by the notion that the honour allows us to march through the city… ‘With Drums beating, Colours flying and Bayonets fixed’.

“I can assure this great city that when we do march through its streets it will also be with hearts beating with pride and stares fixed with pride. As sailors and Royal Marines – we’re very proud to be part of this city.

“Plymouth was largely built and has been sustained by the Royal Navy over many centuries as a global maritime hub – and the city has responded by sustaining, supporting and becoming part of our families’ stories over the same time. Today, we are inseparable.

“So, it is genuinely a great personal honour for me to be the Naval Base Commander during this 60th Anniversary year. Thank you to the city of Plymouth for all you do for the Royal Navy and its sailors and Royal Marines.”

Summerskills Brewery and Ginsters Pasties are sponsors for the event. Summerskills produce a range of cask and bottle conditioned ‘real ales’ from ingredients sourced as locally as possible. This year is the 40th anniversary of the brewery and they are one of the oldest surviving breweries in Devon. Ginsters is the largest pasty maker in the UK and is also local to Plymouth, based in Callington.

Devon and Cornwall Police will be deploying specially trained officers as part of Project Servator to enhance security measures already in place at the event. They will deploy across the site and nearby as preparations for the event get under way and during the event itself.

The officers will be speaking to members of the public to encourage them to be extra eyes and ears and report anything that doesn’t seem right. You have an important role to play in helping to keep our streets safe by reporting anything that doesn’t feel right, for example, an unattended item or someone acting suspiciously.

If you see something suspicious, please tell a police officer or member of the security team as soon as possible. Please feel free to have a chat with D&C officers to find out more about Project Servator or visit the dedicated page on their website: Project Servator | Devon & Cornwall Police (